China’s top statistical body has warned officials against falsifying economic data, promising to investigate and punish those responsible for statistical fraud.
The warning follows scepticism about the reliability of Chinese data, especially as Beijing seeks to defuse market concerns about a protracted slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy.
China’s economy grew 5.2% in 2023, meeting the official target, but analysts expect growth to slow this year amid a property crisis, mounting local debt and persistent deflationary risks.
Fabricating economic data or interferring in statistical work by officials has persisted despite government steps in recent years to improve the quality of the data, China’s National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement, citing an unidentified senior official.
Officials who commit data fraud “will be found, investigated and dealt with, and will not be tolerated,” the official said.
“Statistical fraud is the biggest corruption in the field of statistics, which seriously violates the statistics law, seriously affects the quality of statistical data, obstructing and even misleading macro decision-making,” the official said.
The Xi Jinping-headed Communist Party introduced new disciplinary rules last year that included giving warnings and expelling officials who are responsible for data violations.
- Reuters, with additional editing by Vishakha Saxena